Working in Trades in Canada

Labour Market Outlook

The Skilled Trades enable the future of Canada’s economy.  As the country invests heavily in infrastructure, Canada equally invests in the skilled talent that is going to build it. Furthermore, the creation of the Canada Infrastructure Bank signals additional employment opportunities in the skilled trades.

With Canada set to make massive investments in physical infrastructure, there is an estimated 250,000 shortage of individuals working in construction trades alone.


The Canada Infrastructure Bank will see the federal government put up $35 billion into large infrastructure projects that contribute to economic growth. With these planned developments, new jobs will be created, sharpening Canada’s competitive edge and seeking new and innovative ways to attract talent from around the world.

Trade classification and licensing

The system that the Government of Canada uses to identify skilled trades areas and classify jobs is called the National Occupational Classification (NOC). In addition to a four-digit code for your profession or trade, NOC provides an overview of main duties and employment requirements.



A skilled trade is a particular trade or craft that involves hands-on work to produce a product or offer a service. A skilled trade requires theoretical and practical training to meet the knowledge, skills and abilities required for that trade or craft. A skilled trade is distinct from unskilled and professional occupations. Skilled trade occupations in Canada may be called professions, technical trades, skilled trades, or apprentice-able trades.


A skilled tradesperson or journeyperson is trained and employed, and in some cases has a certificate or credential, in a particular skilled trade or craft. A tradesperson or journeyperson is contrasted with unskilled workers (labourers or agricultural workers, for example) and professionals (engineers, for example).


The skilled trades offer rewarding careers in a large number of occupations. In Canada, there are more than 200 designated trades. Some skilled trades are formally recognized and regulated, meaning skilled tradespersons must complete training and receive certification before they are able to work in that occupation.


Other skilled trades are non-regulated and do not require a certificate for employment.


Skilled tradespersons typically work in four sectors of industry in Canada. These include:

Working as a Power Engineer in CANADA

If you are a skilled newcomer to Canada looking for a job in a regulated field, you’ll need certification to work. For example, if you are an experienced, internationally trained power engineer, you’ll need a provincial or territorial license.


Working as a Carpenter or Automotive Services Technician in canada

You may also find employment in non-regulated trades. For example, carpenters and automotive service technicians do not require certification to be employed. However, many employers prefer workers with a Certificate of Qualification provided by the industry training authorities from each province.


If you have not received any training or have no work experience, you can become certified by completing a four-year apprenticeship program. If you have sufficient training and the required amount of work experience, you can challenge the Industry Training Authority of BC Certificate of Qualification as a Trades Qualifier.


FAST will help you assess your skills and knowledge so you have a better understanding of the additional training that you may need in order to find employment as a carpenter or automotive service technician in Canada.

Working Throughout Canada

Some trades in Canada are Red Seal trades. Red Seal certification is recognized throughout Canada. This means that those with Red Seal certificates do not have to pass additional exams if they move to another Canadian province or territory. Automotive Service Technician (AST) is a Red Seal trade in all territories and provinces except Quebec. Carpenter is a Red Seal trade in all Canadian provinces and territories. While power engineers have similar requirements and training throughout Canada, they require a separate certification for each province.

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